The Pittsburgh Penguins are 6-1-0, atop the Metropolitan division, and welcome another Western Conference opponent in the Vancouver Canucks to Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon. The Penguins are 1-0-0 against the west after beating the Oilers on Tuesday, and are coming off a victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night. The Canucks come into Pittsburgh after shutting out the Buffalo Sabres that same day.
When and where: Consol Energy Center (Pittsburgh, PA); 1:00 pm/et (Root Sports, NHL Network-US)
Records: Penguins (6-1-0, 12 pts.); Canucks (5-3-0, 10 pts.)
Last meeting: As was the case a few games ago against the Edmonton Oilers, and what will be going forward this season, the Penguins and Canucks haven’t seen each other in awhile. To be exact, they haven’t faced off against one another since their 2011-2012 season opener on October 6, 2011. It took a shootout, but the Penguins came out of Vancouver with the 4-3 victory. Matt Cooke haunted his former team with two goals, and James Neal added one of his own. Both Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin scored in the shootout as Marc-Andre Fleury denied Mikael Samuelsson and Alexandre Burrows to seal the win.
Players to keep an eye on:
1. Henrik & Daniel Sedin: Of course when you think of the Canucks, the Sedin twins come to mind. Henrik has ten points on the year, and leads the league in assists with nine. Daniel is right there with him, scoring eight points in Vancouver’s first eight games of the year.
2. Sidney Crosby: What was said above about the Sedins could be said about Sidney Crosby. The Penguins’ captain enters Saturday on a seven-game points streak and leads the NHL in points with fourteen. The next closest person to him has ten points.
Ex-Penguin alert: D Dan Hamhuis (for about 18 hours in 2010)
Penguins: G Tomas Vokoun (blood clot), D Kris Letang (lower body), RW Beau Bennett (lower body), LW James Neal (upper body), RW Matt D’Agostini (lower body)
Canucks: RW Alexandre Burrows (foot), LW Niklas Jensen (lower body)
-Penguins have recalled Chris Conner from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
-Kris Letang and Matt D’Agostini look like they are closer to returning to the lineup as they both participated in a full practice on Friday.
-Alex Edler is expected to return for Vancouver today. He is coming off a three-game suspension for his hit on Tomas Hertl of the San Jose Sharks.
-This is game three of a ten-day, seven-game road trip for the Canucks.
-Even though the Penguins and Canucks last met in 2011, this is Vancouver’s first trip to Pittsburgh since November 17, 2010.
Projected lines (via Emptynetters):
14 Chris Kunitz-87 Sidney Crosby (C)-9 Pascal Dupuis
36 Jussi Jokinen-71 Evgeni Malkin (A)-12 Chuck Kobasew
15 Tanner Glass-16 Brandon Sutter-23 Chris Conner
39 Harry Zolnierczyk-46 Joe Vitale-27 Craig Adams
44 Brooks Orpik (A)-7 Paul Martin
4 Rob Scuderi-2 Matt Niskanen
3 Olli Maatta-41 Robert Bortuzzo
29 Marc-Andre Fleury (6-0-0, .932 Save %, 1.67 GAA, 1 SO)
22 Daniel Sedin (A)-33 Henrik Sedin (C)-17 Ryan Kesler
20 Chris Higgins-25 Mike Santorelli-36 Jannik Hansen
7 David Booth-45 Jordan Schroeder-9 Zack Kassian
29 Tom Sestito-15 Brad Richardson-32 Dale Weise
23 Alexander Edler-5 Jason Garrison
18 Ryan Stanton-3 Kevin Bieksa (A)
2 Dan Hamhuis-8 Christopher Tanev
1 Roberto Luongo (4-3-0, .912 Save %, 2.42 GAA, 1 SO)